“The food you eat can be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
Have you ever been following a “diet” and then been faced with that darn thing called life? I have!
Stress, donuts in the break room, or (like for me) date night can throw the best-laid plans out the window and then many people sit, riddled with guilt and feeling like a failure, wondering whether or not to throw their healthy goals out the window simply because they ate something their over-restrictive plan “didn’t allow.” That’s why I am all about focusing on including lots of nutritious choices, being aware of harmful foods and ingredients, and especially having a plan that includes the foods that make your life worth living!
Check out this great article written by a fellow RD about building a healthy relationship with food! I’m in agreement that the mental game of dieting and restriction can be just as destructive as poor eating habits!
“Yes, I’m a registered dietitian and I care deeply about nutritious, wholesome foods and eating. But I also wholeheartedly believe that there’s a time and a place for a treat.”
– RD Paige Smathers, quoted from KSL.com
On a note unrelated to any particular diet, I wanted to take a moment to spotlight one heck of a health and fitness inspiration.
I discovered this gal on a recent vacation when we had a TV in our hotel room (the kids were super psyched!) and watched a show called American Ninja Warrior. If you haven’t heard of it and you are in the right age range, you will best liken it to something along the lines of American Gladiators. If neither of those names means anything to you, American Ninja Warrior is a strength and agility competition in which contestants train to tackle a specific (very difficult) obstacle course. They are timed, and they must achieve certain times and complete certain obstacles in order to move on to the next round.
In the episode we watched, there was a very tricky obstacle christened “The Wedge” in which contestants hung from a horizontal bar with rubber tennis-ball-like objects on either end. This bar was wedged into what looked like two sheets of angled glass. The contestants had to use their momentum and body control to “jump” the bar across the tunnel between the two glass sheets, ensuring they keep the bar horizontal and don’t lose their grip. If my description makes absolutely no sense, fear not, for the video below will clear things up.
“The Wedge” took no prisoners. Time after time, they would get to that darn wedge and their grip would slip or the bar would land slightly sideways and down they would plunge into the waiting pool below. It was beginning to look downright impossible.
Enter our heroine – Jessie Graff. Jessie is a stunt woman from Pennsylvania. She enters stage left with a delightful smile and a Wonder Woman costume. Her interviews gave a taste of her zest for life and her positive attitude. She is beautiful and fit on the outside, sure, but her mind and heart also exude beauty. Jessie, the only female in the show I watched, conquered the dreaded Wedge like it was a set of monkey bars on a playground.
So why am I all about Jessie Graff now? It’s not just because she’s a woman or because she “beat the boys” (though I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a defiant third-grade girl inside me who found a little bit of glee in that). It’s because she surpassed everyone’s expectations – including her own. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we combine discipline with a positive attitude. I so admired these qualities in her that I tracked her down on Facebook. Her page is littered with pictures of little girls in Wonder Woman suits and comments from people saying that she is inspiring others out of eating disorders by showing what the human body is capable of when properly fueled.
This lady is stupendous and has most definitely been added to my mental Wall of Inspiring People.
You and I also can (and should) make a practice of surpassing everyone’s expectations – including our own. Make a fitness goal to see what your body can do – even if it seems a little out of reach. Add some positive attitude and discipline and you can inspire the socks off of yourself and others too!
Alright, here goes a new post (some might call it a rant) about my feelings on meal plans. I gotta tell ya, I love to hate ’em. Making them, selecting them, and most of all, following them. They are stinky, like fish. That will make more sense in a few paragraphs. Promise.
Why are they stinky, you ask? Well I would be more than happy to tell you.
The food we eat is connected to everything in our lives. Everything. Your budget, your spouse (or lack of spouse), your kids (and their preferences, allergies, and appetites), your schedule, your culture, and your mood all play in to the food you choose to eat. That being said, someone would have to thoroughly understand all of those things about you in order to select foods that are good options for a meal plan for you. Now, how many meal plan makers know you that well?
Take the meal plan I’m currently on, for example. The meal plan ingredients increased my grocery budget by 75%! Typically I use dinner leftovers for lunches, but this meal plan uses NO leftovers for ANYTHING. You know what that gets you (besides an expensive grocery trip)? A fridge full of leftovers waiting to go bad. It also leaves you cooking two meals every night – dinner and tomorrow’s lunch. Not sustainable, functional, or enjoyable.
My final gripe about following meal plans made by others? Sometimes I just don’t like the food. Like, for example, coleslaw. I’m not a huge fan, but it’s on the meal plan, because the person who made it didn’t know me and my lack of appreciation for coleslaw. So here I am, either eating coleslaw or feeling as though I somehow “failed” my meal plan because I didn’t like it.
And you know what else (yes, I lied about the final gripe part)? As a dietitian, my goal is to empower my patients to live a healthy life they love. Now even if I gave them the perfect meal plan that worked great for their lifestyle, are they empowered? What will they do when the week-long meal plan is over? Will they just eat the same food week after week forever?
Of course not.
Remember the old saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and feed him for the rest of his life”? Well, a meal plan is a fish.
I can give someone a meal plan fish and they can meet their nutritional goals for a week (if they can manage to stick with a meal plan someone else made), or I can teach someone how to plan for themselves and meet their health and quality of life goals. Truly, they are the only ones who know themselves well enough to do it. It’s not easy and it’s awkward at first, but once they get the hang of it they are empowered. They can eat for life – on a budget and with foods they love! And that is why I love what I do!
And why I hate stinky meal plan fish. End rant.
As you may (or may not) have noticed, Dietitian on a Diet has been on a bit of a hiatus. This is bound to happen from time to time, as the project is a method of self-development that lands below a number of other things on my life priority list. As I’ve been rather busy with wedding planning, new job-ing, and enjoying some gorgeous weather, the blog has taken a backseat for a bit. I realize that this is probably depressing news, as I am certain you have all been waiting around with collectively bated breath waiting for the next riveting edition of my research and snarky opinions, but I’m afraid it is a reality of life that you shall all have to deal with. Please note my extreme sarcasm here.
In the meantime, however, I have been focusing my research and attention on a different area of nutrition than I have been working in until this point – sports nutrition. My new job is on a military base providing nutrition education, counseling, and intervention for our servicemen and women. Consequently, I have immersed myself into my exercise physiology and sports nutrition books and I am dusting off the cobwebs in those portions of my brain. I’m looking forward to working in a place that allows me to utilize my exercise physiology background as well as nutrition!
In other news, my fiance and I started a pretty intense exercise program which would have skewed data I might have gleaned from any diet experiment I might have tried, so I decided to let my body get used to that before changing my eating habits again. It’s likely the blogging, or at least the dieting, will be scarce until after the wedding and honeymoon are over in a couple of months, but if you’re interested I’d be happy to post about whatever I’m learning along the way! I’ll keep it nutrition-related though…I won’t blog about “10 Ways to Have a Wedding Reception Your Guests will Always Remember.” I promise.
This post has nothing to do with nutrition but I hope it will make you laugh. Today was my last day at my current job(s) and I’m feeling a little nostalgic. I thought I’d do something a little different today and share some of the craziest, sweetest, most hilarious and oh-my-goodness-worthy quotes from my beloved patients. Enjoy!
1. Patient: Where do you get your cream of rice? I’ve checked all the stores. I looked at Sears, Home Depot, and Staples and none of them have cream of rice.
2. Patient: You have a fiance, don’t you?
Me (wearing gloves – my engagement ring is not visible): Well yeah, actually, but why do you say fiance instead of boyfriend or husband?
Patient: You have that ‘engaged’ look. I can tell.
3. Me: Would you like me to take your blood pressure?
Elderly male patient (with strong German accent): Vhy yes…do you vant to sqveeze me?
4. Patient (to another dietitian): Thank goodness it’s you. That other dietitian (me) was so scrawny.
5. Elderly female patient: Your eyes are so pretty. I don’t know why you wear your hair over your eyes like that…it covers up the pretty part of your face.
6. Me: Well, that’s all of my questions. We’ll check on you tomorrow and see how you’re doing. Have a nice day!
Elderly male patient: Don’t leave! You’re pretty!
7. Me: We have several types of nutritional supplements if you’d like to try any of those to help increase your calorie intake.
Older male patient: Do you have Boost?
Me: We sure do!
Older male patient: I love Boost! What flavors do you have?
Me: We have chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.
Older male patient: Strawberry! I love strawberry!
Me: Great! Would you like me to have one sent with each of your meals?
Older male patient (takes my hand, looks at me very seriously): I love you.
8. Patient: Are you skipping school to be here?
Me: I’m sorry?
Patient: You look like you’re fourteen!
Me (to myself): Make mental note not to wear braids to work. Ever. Again.
9. Me (working on teaching some diabetes education): The next thing on the nutrition label you need to look at is Total Carbohydrates.
Patient: Yes. Carbohydrates. Got it. How much money do you make?
Me: Why do you ask that?
Patient: Because I want to know. How much do you make?
Me: Well, I’d rather not say, actually. Is that alright?
Patient: Okay. How many hours do you work?
Me (teasing): Well, that depends on how long it takes to get through your handout.
Patient: How many hours do you work each week?
Me: Well, it is different every week, but these aren’t really relevant topics. Is it alright if we go back to looking at the nutrition label?
Patient: Okay. So how much money do you make?
aaaaand my personal favorite…
10. Older male patient: You look so pretty with your hair up. You should wear your hair up every day. If you were my girlfriend and you wore your hair up I’d say, “Da**, you’re a gorgeous wench!
Thanks for visiting Dietitian on a Diet! The adventure is about to begin. Here’s why:
- My primary reason – my patients and clients. I get the same questions a lot: Have you ever been heavy? Have you ever tried to follow a diet? Do you know how hard this really is? The honest answer to all of these questions is “no”, and I don’t think that is fair. It isn’t fair for me to bring someone a little handout about their new diet, give them a few tips and tricks, and send them on their merry way when I have absolutely no clue what their struggles are going to be like from there on out. Now it’s going to be my turn to follow some recommendations.
- As a new dietitian, I have so much to learn about the current nutrition research and topics that people are asking me about all the time. Here’s my way of catching up, thinking critically, and feeling completely confident that I am providing up-to-date information to the people I am trying to help.
Here’s how it works: I will choose a certain diet (or you will, rather, by voting in the poll on the left) and spend a week researching it and choosing a two-week meal plan (which I will post for you). I will then follow said plan and blog about my experiences, including grocery costs, cravings, frustrations, go-to foods, recipes and more. After the two weeks I will follow the diet for one more week “on the fly.” My three weeks on a given diet won’t hold a candle to following it for years or a lifetime, but I’m banking on getting a little perspective, at least.
Hopefully you will find something on this website helpful to you. If you ever have a diet, topic, or question you would like me to address, feel free to send me a message through the “Contact” section. Have a beautiful day!